Fallon Sherrock has opened door for many, says jockey Hayley Turner
"You just think about all of the women watching her and how inspiring it must have been for them."
By Emma Thurston
Last Updated: 10/01/20 10:11am
On December 21, Fallon Sherrock continued to write new darting history with her victory over Mensur Suljovic and in the crowd at Alexandra Palace, jockey Hayley Turner OBE loved witnessing every moment.
Sherrock's performances at the PDC World Championship made waves, changing perceptions and adding a new dimension to the sport.
When it comes to paving the way for women in a largely male-dominated sporting arena, then jockey Turner has experience.
She was the first woman to ride 100 winners in a year in British racing, the first to win a British Group 1 outright and the first female jockey to win at Royal Ascot since 1987.
Throughout her long-standing career, which is continuing in 2020, Turner set about being the best that she could be and it's not surprising that she was delighted to have witnessed Sherrock doing the same at Ally Pally.
"It was amazing and it was so good to be there [watching Fallon]. Everybody was rooting for her and everyone was on her side, it was just brilliant to see," the jockey said onThe Darts Show podcast.
"You just think about all of the women watching her and how inspiring it must have been for them. It's just opening the door for so many people."
I always thought that horse racing was one of the only sports where men competed against women on a level playing field, but obviously darts is another one now.
From her own experiences, Turner knows how important the coming months will be in order to ensure that Sherrock's success helps to drive darts forward.
"Having the opportunities (for women) is the key," she said.
"From my point of view, with race riding, it's getting on the good horses and when you get those chances, they can do the job easily.
"The more opportunities they (women) get, they're going to get better and better as well.
"The standard of players is just going to rise now (in darts) that there's more coaching, there's more prize money so that they can play full-time as opposed to it being just a hobby."
Sherrock's sensational work at Ally Pally has secured her a spot as a 'challenger' in this year's Premier League and has gained her a place at the New York leg of the World Series.
At this point in time, the wider picture for women's darts and the shape that it will take, remains less clear. However, as a lover of the sport and an avid follower, Turner will be keeping a close eye on proceedings.
"It's going to be really interesting to see what it's going to be like in 10 years' time," Turner said.
"I know that I've pencilled my name down for some Premier League darts in Nottingham in February.
"If I'm not riding," she added. Maybe I'll be Fallon's lucky mascot!!"
Coverage of the Premier League gets underway on Thursday, February 6 in Aberdeen at 7pm on Sky Sports Action with newly-crowned world champion Peter Wright going up against Michael van Gerwen. Gary Anderson and 'Challenger' John Henderson also take to the stage.