Two of Queensland's best horses lined up in the Group 3 George Moore Stakes (1200m) at Doomben and it was Zoustyle who was able to lead and repel the challenge of Rothfire, winning by half a length and recording his second George Moore win having also been successful in 2021.
The market couldn't split the pair, both sent out as $3.80 chances with Nettuno (5th) the $2.80 favourite but class came to the fore, Zoustyle showing his customary zip and finding enough late as Rothfire was gallant with 61kg, conceding 5kg to the winner.
Having been caught wide first up in the Swiss Ace Plate (1000m) at Sunshine Coast, a race Zoustyle won in 2021, trainer Tony Gollan believes a return to Doomben was the key to the well-travelled sprinters win.
"The guys that own him were really disappointed when he drew wide but I said to them when he came over here and worked on Tuesday, 'this is really his favourite track, he gets himself into such a good rhythm here and it's the only race all Summer that I had an opportunity to bring him back here to Doomben," Gollan said.
This was Ryan Maloney's second win aboard Zoustyle and was full of praise for the horse's toughness at the end of 1200m, a distance that he believes tests Zoustyle, especially at the higher level.
"His run was full of merit the other day, he had no luck whatsoever and 1200 (metres) has always been a suspect but today he just gathered himself and was in a good rhythm and wasn't overexerting himself which he usually can do but six kilos makes a big difference in a tight finish, but he was as brave as ever and it was good to see him reverse the form from the other day," Maloney said.
"To his credit, when he felt Rothfire, he dug again so his win was full of merit and bravery."