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

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by G. & C. Merriam Co.
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.
Nine-man Chievo missed the chance to steal a march on their relegation rivals when they went down to a 1-0 defeat at Atalanta while Parma's hopes of avoiding relegation were given a real shot in the arm as on-loan Manchester United striker Giuseppe Rossi scored a last-gasp winner for a 1-0 triumph against Livorno.