A YEAR on after losing out by a neck in the same race, Pearls Galore went one place better in Saturday's Group 1 Coolmore America Justify Matron Stakes at Leopardstown.

Wearing cheekpieces for the first time, Billy Lee's mount made all the running and kicked clear in the straight before comfortably holding Saffron Beach, Tenebrism and the favourite Homeless Songs. The first four more or less raced in the same positions throughout.

Trainer Paddy Twomey, who was winning his second Group 1 race of the season, said: "She was good today. She’s been in good form at home and I said to Billy we’d put the cheekpieces on. She’s five years old and was just doing what she had to do, just going through the motions.

“France didn’t work out the last day and we came home disappointed but not upset. The ground was quick and it was a straight mile.

“This is more her jazz, an ease in the ground and a turn. The best race of her life was this race last year. I knew she was in good form and I said to Billy with the cheekpieces on I don’t think we should be taking her back.

“She has got speed and she stays. She has a lot of ability and can go at a high pace and burn off other horses. That’s her true running. The aim was to win a Group 1 and she’s after doing it.”

Lee, who won the same race in 2014 on Fiesolana, said: "I wasn't worried about stamina and I thought the ground would have been perfect today. She just hasn't been right since (winning in May) and she's been running on quick ground so maybe she was just telling us she doesn't like fast ground. The cheekpieces definitely helped."