SHOWJUMPING: THE Chester International Horse Show - the largest show-jumping event in the north of England - started last night and continues until Sunday on The Roodee.
The international arena will host leading showjumpers from across the globe, as well Britain's top riders, including Robert Smith, John Whittaker, Nick Skelton, Michael Whittaker and Liz Edgar.
This is a particularly important year as the European Championships take place in Germany next month, and competitors will have a final opportunity to show off their talents to gain selection for the last major championship before the Olympics in Athens next year.
Last year's show proved a huge success, with three days of showjumping involving 400 horses and ponies and more than 300 riders.
Key times in the international arena today are: 10am Welcome Stakes; 12.30pm Roodee Stakes; 3.30pm Premier Consulting UK Stakes.
Two outside arenas will also be running classes simultaneously and timetables will be available on the day.
The organisers, Scope Promotions (Equestrian) along with Chester City Council, have made significant improvements to this year's show.
Floodlighting has been added to the international arena, enabling showjumping classes and a selection of entertainments to take place well into the evening.
A hospitality area will be on two storeys, commanding a superb view of the main arena and the showground, while a Champagne and seafood area is on offer.
The action starts on each day at 10am and today and tomorrow continues to 10.30pm, finishing on Sunday at 6pm.
Tickets from Chester Racecourse (01244 304610) at £5 for adults and £2.50 for children. Parking is free.
Pay by credit card at www.chesterraces.co.ukÚeventslei sureÚindex.php