Entries have opened for the 76th annual Royal Windsor Horse Show - which seems likely to attract the largest number yet.

More than 55,000 spectators are expected to visit the famous showgrounds set in the private grounds of Windsor Castle from Wednesday, May 8 to Sunday, May 12.

New classes this year include showing classes for Cleveland Bays (in hand and ridden), an RoR open in hand show series qualifier and in hand classes for Pure Bred Arabs.

New national show jumping classes include an Under 25 competition on the last day of the show.Sunday.

In addition The Pony Club is running its dressage championships at the show and there will an Oxford - Cambridge varsity match dressage competition.

Show director Simon Brooks-Ward said: “Each year we receive the highest standard of entries which is a true testament to the show, reiterating its importance in the equestrian calendar. With even more added to the show’s programme this year, it will be extremely exciting to see which competitors shine throughout the week and which classes are the most hotly contended.”

Britain’s leading competitors will be vying to make an impact in front of the home crowds. The Queen has been a regular contender, having had a number of significant wins over the years.

She also regularly makes informal appearances at the show to view the stands and enjoy the equestrian action.

One of the country's leading showing producers Jayne Ross said: “There is an aura about Windsor from the moment you arrive and if you’re really lucky and you win, you get a fantastic picture of being presented with the trophy with the backdrop of Windsor Castle. There is just nothing quite like it.”

Tickets to Royal Windsor Horse Show can be booked online at www.rwhs.co.uk or by calling the box office on 0844 581 0755 from the UK and +44 (0)121 7966 290 internationally. Windsor residents should call the Windsor Information Centre on 01753 743 589.