RACING NSW stewards have found media personality Brent Zerafa guilty of the charge of conduct prejudicial to the image of racing.
But any decision on penalty has been adjourned to a date to be fixed for Zerafa and his legal counsel to “consider the issue of penalty”.
His legal representative, Damien Sheales, had argued during the September 1 stewards hearing that his client could not be charged by stewards under the rules of racing.
In announcing their guilty verdict on Monday, stewards declared they had rejected Sheales’ submission and Zerafa, as a registered owner, had agreed to be bound by the rules of racing.
The allegations included Zerafa not selecting Palazzo Pubblico when giving his mounting yard mail for the now defunct TVN at Royal Randwick on January 17.
Zerafa told viewers the pick of the yard was I Am Zelady, trained by Sam Kavanagh and a stablemate of Palazzo Pubblico.
But stewards found Zerafa had received a series of text messages before the race from harness racing identity, John Camillieri, who stewards said was a person Zerafa “knew or suspected was privy to inside information.’’
The text messages suggested Camilleri had been “helping” Kavanagh’s horses and one text read” Watch Palazzo in race 3”.
Betting records show Zerafa had $200 on eventual winner Palazzo Pubblico at odds of $6, who had firmed from $11 since the texts were sent.
Camilleri has subsequently pleaded guilty to six charges laid against him by stewards in the Kavanagh cobalt case and stewards said these were also crucial to the charge being sustained.