A remarkable comeback by Ashrun to finish fourth and a "pretty fun" maiden ride for Newcastle apprentice Dylan Gibbons were positives on an otherwise tough day for the Hunter's Melbourne Cup (3200m) brigade on Tuesday at Flemington. Ashrun ($26) was one of three horses in the $8.4 million race for Hunter two-time Cup-winning syndicators Australian Bloodstock. They also had defending champion and $6.50 second favourite Gold Trip and French mare Lastotchka ($26) in the race, giving them three starters for the first time. However, Gold Trip was eased out of the race well short of the line by James McDonald to finish 17th, 23 lengths off winner Without A Fight. Lastotchka was 13 lengths behind in 13th to just miss a cheque after a tough run in her first Australian start. Racing Victoria stewards reported later that: "Upon cooling down and re-examination, Gold Trip was found to be lame in the right front." McDonald said straight after the race that Gold Trip "travelled into it lovely and just the effort told late". Lastotchka's jockey, Craig Williams, was proud of the effort from the Mick Price and Michael Kent jnr-trained import from a start in gate 21. "We didn't have any luck from the barriers, three wide, had cover, lost cover," Williams said. "Under the circumstances, she ran a gallant race in her first race start in Australia, but we were beaten on straightening." Three-time Cup-winner Kerrin McEvoy was aboard Ashrun, which let down well to grab fourth and a $350,000 cheque on the line. It capped an amazing return from the eight-year-old, which was 10th in the 2020 Melbourne Cup but then spent close to three years out of racing because of two tendon injuries. He returned in September for trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace and qualified for the Cup with second in the Geelong Cup (2400m) in just his third start back. Australian Bloodstock's Luke Murrell said they did not expect the French gelding to win more prizemoney, let alone gain another start in the Cup. Newcastle Jockey Club chairman Geoff Barnett and his wife Maureen are among the ownership of Ashrun. "He ran great, and it's a testament to Ciaron Maher and Dave Eustace and their veterinary team to get him back racing great," McEvoy said. "He had a nice trip around, he give me a good ride. I just had to wait and ease out at the top of the lane, but he's finished off really well." Gibbons, meanwhile, rode $81 chance Okita Soushi into the prizemoney from a start in barrier 20. The 22-year-old, riding for two-time Cup-winning trainer Joseph O'Brien, settled the six-year-old Irish stallion near the rear of the field. They were second last approaching the home bend before Gibbons took Okita Soushi wide and gave him a clear run to the line to take 11th place and $160,000. "He probably got too far back to win, but I thought the way he maintained himself all the way through the line was a good effort, and it was pretty fun," Gibbons said. It was the Waratah-based hoop's first ride at Flemington after his chance, Baltic Coast, in the race just before the Cup, the Subzero Handicap for greys, was scratched. Newcastle trainer Kris Lees' Kalapour was 20th after fading in the straight. Jockey Zac Lloyd took him forward mid-race to sit just off the leader. "The horse didn't really experience much of an economical run and it just told late. He tried hard but just too much work," Lloyd said. Lees' other Cup qualifier, Cleveland, was scratched late on Monday because of an elevated temperature.