(Ascot, Berkshire; Monday) Amid scenes of panic and hysteria at the bookies' rails, this year's Royal meeting at Ascot racecourse has been officially cancelled due to a sudden outbreak of foot in mouth disease in the jockeys' weighing room.
The news hit the markets hard, with Moss Bros shares tumbling to a record 2p as thousands flocked back to the High Street to return their hired formal daywear. A statement from the London Stock Exchange confirmed that the Footsie had registered a staggering 50% loss on the day's trading in a typical knee-jerk reaction known as the domino effect.
Unconfirmed reports as yet unauthenticated by the Ministry of Agriculture Official Veterinary Surgeon's Department claimed that the outbreak was, in fact, swine fever originating in a coterie of racehorse owners including the Magniers and Will "Stamps" Farish III, bagman to Presidents Bush Sr and Jr, and current top Enron illusionist at the US Embassy in London.
Swine fever has long been suspected as a mutant variant strain of Mrs Thatcher's Mad Cow Disease, which millions of viewers across the world witnessed last Friday during her touching tribute at President Reagan's funeral.
Ascot racecourse remains closed until further notice.