To steal a march

to march in a covert way; to gain an advantage unobserved; - formerly followed by of, but now by on or upon, and sometimes by over; as, to steal a march upon one's political rivals.

See also: Steal

References in classic literature ?
They tried in every way to blind and baffle them; to steal a march upon them, or lead them on a wrong scent; but all in vain.