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jockey for position

Maneuver or manipulate for one's own benefit, as in The singers are always jockeying for position on stage. This expression, dating from about 1900, originally meant maneuvering a race horse into a better position for winning. It was transferred to other kinds of manipulation in the mid-1900s.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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