BBC sports presenter Clare Balding will officially open the Aintree International Equestrian Centre on Sunday (28 October, ’07).

The 56,000 square foot international standard arena features a 70×30 metre main area, in addition to a 55×20 metre collecting ring, offices and lecture rooms.

Located in the grounds of Aintree Racecourse, it was built with £4.6 million of investment from the North West Regional Development Fund Agency (NWDA) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Steve Broomhead, chief executive of the NWDA, said: “Aintree Racecourse attracts 200,000 visitors to the region every year. The new centre is an exciting addition to this venue, as there is nothing else like it in the region.”

Richard Nutter, head of European programmes at the Government Office for the North West said: “This latest EU investment towards the equestrian centre will further enhance it as one of the most familiar brands in world sport and provide another great legacy for local people and visitors alike”.

Since its completion in April, the centre has already hosted various events, including show jumping, dressage, and a ‘taster week’ offering children from Liverpool schools free riding lessons.

The opening is part of Aintree’s October Race meeting on Sunday 28 October.