ride on coattails
ride on (one's) coattails
To benefit from someone else's success; to use someone else's success as a means to achieve one's own. Everyone knows you've been riding on the governor's coattails for the last two years, but once her term ends you'll be on your own. Jonathan rode on the famous professor's coattails to get some recognition for his own work from several esteemed academic journals.
ride on someone's coattailsand hang on someone's coattails
Fig. to make one's good fortune or success on the strength of someone else's. (Also with else, as in the examples.) Bill isn't very creative, so he rides on John's coattails. Some people just have to hang on somebody else's coattails.