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A disqualification against Sydney racing commentator Brent Zerafa has been set aside by the Appeal Panel of Racing NSW.

Banned after being found guilty of conduct prejudicial to the interests of racing, Zerafa was appealing a Racing NSW stewards’ penalty as well as its severity.

While the panel on Friday dismissed an appeal against the finding of guilt, it said a three-month disqualification was inappropriate.

Instead, the panel said Zerafa should be fined $1500.

Zerafa fronted stewards in September over an exchange of text messages with John Camilleri, a person who subsequently emerged as a central figure in the cobalt case against Sydney trainer Sam Kavanagh.

The stewards’ inquiry heard Zerafa had $200 on Palazzo Pubblico, the winner of a race at Randwick in January despite not having it in his favoured assessments in his role as a mounting yard expert for the now-defunct thoroughbred channel TVN.

Zerafa’s new employer, the racing broadcaster Sky Channel, terminated his contract soon after the September inquiry.

A disqualification would have stopped Zerafa from attending race meetings, holding a betting account or having an ownership involvement in racehorses.

 
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