steal the march upon (someone or something)

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steal the march upon (someone or something)

To gain an unexpected or surreptitious advantage over someone or something, as by accomplishing something before, or better than, someone else. The retail business managed to steal the march upon its competitors by signing an exclusive export agreement with Europe. John and I were both trying to win Courtney's heart, but he stole the march upon me when he managed to get tickets to see Courtney's favorite band.
See also: march, steal, upon
References in classic literature ?
From afar at the end of Tsar Peter Straat, issued in the frosty air the tinkle of bells of the horse tramcars, appearing and disappearing in the opening between the buildings, like little toy carriages harnessed with toy horses and played with by people that appeared no bigger than children.
Notwithstanding the little iron stove, the ink froze on the swing- table in the cabin, and I found it more convenient to go ashore stumbling over the arctic waste-land and shivering in glazed tramcars in order to write my evening letter to my owners in a gorgeous cafe in the centre of the town.
After drinking some hot coffee, like an Arctic explorer setting off on a sledge journey towards the North Pole, I would go ashore and roll shivering in a tramcar into the very heart of the town, past clean-faced houses, past thousands of brass knockers upon a thousand painted doors glimmering behind rows of trees of the pavement species, leafless, gaunt, seemingly dead for ever.