Traditionally, for the 24th time on the great Christian holiday, Christmas, pure-blooded horses ran on the Hippodrome in Bogatic, and more than 2 thousand people from Macva, Srem, and Pocerina enjoyed in the exciting race on the frozen track.
Races are held here for Christmas and the lovers of horse sports never miss this, regardless of the weather conditions.
- It doesn't matter if it is very cold or if it's raining, if it's snow or if it's hot. It was 18 degrees last year, but that wasn't the hottest. In 1999, it was 27 degrees. And three years ago the horses ran at -8 - said Sinisa Blagojevic, professor of history in this area.
Older people drank mulled wine, and children shared the ceremonial bread. Ten-year-old Ognjen Dejanic found a golden coin in it.
- It's cold, but horses feel it less than people. There is no rest for gallop racers. We train them and prepare them for the spring season of horse races. We check the progress they have made in training each year on Christmas - said Vladan Rosic from Glusac.
A horse Kruna, owned by Vladan Dabic from Bogatic, was the first one that went through the finish line. And the coach and jockey Sasa Kostadinovic was also happy for the triumph beside Dabic.
- My horse Marakes, which I rode, came in the second today, and Kruna was the fastest. I can't say if I am happier for the first place or the second. Anyway, it is good when your Christmas starts with victories - said Kostadinovic.
People of Macva always loved horses, even before the races started taking place six decades ago. They had tracks in the village where they used to compete, especially around Christmas and other religious holidays.
Old folks Slobodan Vicentic (70) from Radenkovic and Stojan Bogdanovic (72) from Ravanj remember those times, and the times when horse races in Bogatic had more audience than those in Belgrade or Sabac.
- I never missed a race in Bogatic during the sixties. It was so nice here that a sick person could be cured. We always had horses and we used to farm with them. Although we have machinery now, we have a horse in the barn, and of course some coach, and we passed the love for horses to our grandchildren - said Vicentic.
- Son is driving a tractor on the field, I sit on the horse and I go after him. I feed her, groom her every day, and I take care of her as if it is a member of the family. She is like a queen and would never sell her - said Stojan Bogdanovic.
(Telegraf.co.uk / Dragan Grujic)