The legal team representing leading Kiwi jockey James McDonald has argued his sentence should be reduced to a "six-to-nine month suspension" as his appeal to have an 18-month disqualification was adjourned yesterday.

Sydney-based McDonald (below) is fronting the Racing NSW Appeals Panel over the ban imposed by Australian stewards in December.

McDonald, Sydney's champion jockey last season, was outed after being found guilty under rule AR 83 (d) after admitting he received A$4000 ($4362) from a A$1000 bet placed on his behalf by professional punter Anthony Gardiner.

The wager was placed on Astern, the horse McDonald rode to victory at Randwick on December 5, 2015.


Betting offences carry a mandatory minimum two-year disqualification in Australia and "applies unless stewards establish special circumstances".

McDonald was given a discount for his guilty plea and co-operation with stewards.

But McDonald's lawyer Bret Walker argued a six-to-nine month suspension would be more appropriate considering 25-year-old McDonald's "extreme youth".

If his ban is reduced to a suspension, McDonald's legal team said the top jockey would volunteer to help with apprentice schools to educate younger jockeys.

However, Racing NSW chief steward Marc Van Gestel hinted McDonald could be considered fortunate to receive the six-month reduction because the special circumstance rule in question states the person must plead guilty as well as co-operate with stewards during the investigation.

Van Gestel said McDonald repeatedly denied having an interest in the bet before an admission of guilt in an interview with stewards in November last year.

When quizzed about the bet in the initial interview with stewards, Van Gestel read a transcript whereby McDonald's comments included:

"You can go through my whole phone, I've done nothing wrong. I don't bet. It would just be like any Joe Blow in the street coming up to me and saying 'what's your best [ride] today'."

He was then quizzed on whether he knew who Gardiner bet with and how much.

"No, I don't want to know, I have a hard enough job as it is."

The inquiry had been adjourned with the appeals panel likely to deliver their verdict later this week.